Greater Kruger National Park
Stretching over approximately 2 000 000 hectares, the Kruger National Park is without question the flagship reserve of South Africa. The size is impressive to say the least. About the size of Wales, the reserve has some of the best game viewing on offer in southern Africa, and a massive tourist destination for local and international tourists. In the “old days” the Kruger National Park was fenced off from neighbouring private reserves for various reasons, some of which made sense and others not.
One of the main contributing reasons was the fact that the surrounding reserves did not adhere to Kruger’s conservation policies, a valid point. However, after many years and as many discussions the fences between the surrounding private reserves and Kruger were dropped, adding approximately 180 000 hectares to the overall size of the Kruger National Park. Over 20 private reserves were incorporated into the Kruger, including reserves such as the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Timbavati Private Nature and Game Reserve, Klaserie Private Nature Reserve and the Manyeleti Game Reserve to name a few.
This area has now become unofficially known as the Greater Kruger National Park. The addition of these reserves has also increased the accommodation offerings. The Kruger National Park has been traditionally known for its self-catering 3-star accommodation, however with the addition of these reserves, both 4- and 5-star ultra-luxury lodges offering fully inclusive, catered accommodation and open vehicle safaris.
The main reason however for the incorporation of these reserves is conservation, and the fact that animals can roam over a much larger area. In addition to this, the gene pool of the animals has also been increased, specifically in the private reserves. The Greater Kruger National Park is a success story, proving that private enterprise and government can work together for the greater good of conservation.